FAU Relay for Life raises thousands for cancer research

The annual event hosted 33 teams of FAU students, faculty, and members of the community to take laps around the Boca campus track and field.


Pierce Herrmann | Contributing Photographer

Anthony Spataro and Katrina Scales

Relay for life drew hundreds to the Boca campus track and field Friday evening to honor the lives lost to cancer, celebrate survivors, and raise money for a cure.

The Disney-themed event was led by sophomore neuroscience major Sarvika Bommakanti of the Relay for Life Event Leadership Team. She was inspired to become a leader after she lost her grandfather to cancer.

“My inspiration when putting Relay for Life together is and has always been my grandfather who passed away from cancer years ago,” Bommakanti told the Boca Voice. “[He] was so strong during his battle with cancer. I Relay for him and for all those who have had to fight the same battle that he did.”

Close to $16,000 was raised by 33 participating teams, many of the top contributors being FAU Greek life organizations. All donations go to the American Cancer Society, which goes directly to various cancer research and outreach programs, Bommakanti said.

Freshman biology major Courtney Searles attended the event with her sorority Delta Phi Epsilon and said this was her fourth time participating in Relay for Life. Her Delta Phi Epsilon team raised $1,000 in two days.

Sophomore neuroscience and chemistry major Varad Gharat also walked the track. Gharat is a hospice volunteer at Vitas in Deerfield Beach and said he feels a special connection with Relay for Life.

“I wanted to show cancer patients they’re not alone”, said Gharat.

The most successful individual fundraiser was Pi Kappa Phi chapter president Jonathan Schantz who raised $1,000. His fraternity raised the most out of all Greek Life teams.

“I raised 1,000 by really engaging on social media, as well as utilizing the love and support from my family,” Schantz told the UP in a Facebook message. “My best friends older brother had leukemia in high school and I really saw how cancer affected his family financially and emotionally so this cause has meant a great deal to me, and I’m glad I was able to have my chapter behind me with support.”

Courtesy of Pi Kappa Phi on Instagram


Anthony Spataro is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].

Katrina Scales is the managing editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected]